Harvest Table Buffet

All-You-Can-Eat | Buffet
excellent
Worth a detour
Michael Stern | March 01, 2019
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At their worst, buffets are like sloppy summer-camp mess halls. At their best, they are heartland church suppers with a delirious overload of wonderful things to eat.

Harvest Table Buffet, located out South Augusta’s Gordon Highway, is not quite church-supper spectacular; but as downhome southern food goes, it’s a winner. Especially notable: baked chicken that is literally fall-off-the-bone tender; rutabagas that balance the root vegetable’s peppery tingle with just the right note of sweet; vividly flavored squash casserole; sultry-dark collard greens; really cheesy cheddar-chive biscuits; hushpuppies studded with sweet corn kernels.

The selection is immense, making it a challenge to decide what to put on a plate and what to leave behind (at least on the first pass through). A lady in front of me strode right past the copious salad fixins, ignoring catfish, pork chops, pot roast, spaghetti, baked chicken, all the vegetables and vegetable casseroles, buttered grits, stuffing and stewed tomatoes. She was on a mission: to get to the serving pan of fried chicken. Here she built a tall pile of breasts, thighs, and drumsticks that teetered precariously as she toted it to her table for a monomaniacal splurge. (It is good fried chicken, but tender more than crunchy. Honestly, in this place, I like baked better.)

Dessert demands a stalwart sweet tooth. The several cakes and puddings set out on two long, help-yourself tables are not meek confections. Peach cobbler, aglow with sugar, is more about pastry than fruit; and while banana pudding packs an impressive population of fresh banana slices, the sweetness of its silky pudding tends to overwhelm them. Boston cream pie, chocolate pie, and strawberry shortcake also are set out in all their colorful glory.

Although it looks like a hundred other, similar buffets throughout Dixie, Harvest Table is not an impersonal corporate operation. It’s still run by the family who opened it here in 1978. The staff who take care of customers, from the cash-register lady to waitresses who bring (and constantly refill) tumblers of sweet tea, are kind and hospitable. This is a nice place to eat.

What to Eat
Harvest Table Buffet, Baked Chicken
Baked Chicken
Must-Try
Maximum savor in falling-apart tender baked chicken
Harvest Table Buffet, Rutabagas
Rutabagas
Must-Try
Rutabagas: fetching balance of zesty and sweet
Harvest Table Buffet, Mac & Cheese
Mac & Cheese
Must-Try
Rich, creamy mac 'n' cheese
Harvest Table Buffet, Hushpuppies
Hushpuppies
Must-Try
Note corn kernel embedded in yummy hushpuppy
Harvest Table Buffet, Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
Very flavorful fried chicken has tender crust.
Harvest Table Buffet, Peach Cobbler
Peach Cobbler
Peach cobbler is less about fruit than sweet pastry.
Harvest Table Buffet, Banana Pudding
Banana Pudding
Banana pudding sports lots of ripe, fresh banana slices.
Harvest Table Buffet, Boston Cream Pie
Boston Cream Pie
Soft, supersweet Boston cream pie
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No

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